Music March 17, 2013
NOD TO THE GODS: Thin Lizzy, 'Whiskey In The Jar'

In the spirit of the weekend, we're tipping our hats to Thin Lizzy's breakthrough hit, their take on the Irish folk ballad: 'Whiskey in the Jar'.

The tune tells the traditional story of a bandit from south-west Ireland who robs an English Army Officer to keep his girlfriend Molly happy after she promises to love him forever. Then she betrays him and he goes to jail.

It's a sad song - but maybe just the right fit for a round of slightly melancholy, booze-soaked St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Although it was massively successful for Thin Lizzy, the band considered it a throwaway b-side. While on a high-profile tour with Slade and Suzi Quatro, they released the song against their wishes as they strongly felt it didn't represent their sound or their image. The problem was, they didn't have anything else.

Turns out the release was a good career move. 'Whiskey in the Jar' topped the Irish charts for 17 weeks, remained on the British charts for 12 weeks, and led to their appearance on the prestigious showcase seen above, 'Top of the Pops'.

Metallica covered Thin Lizzy's version for their 1998 'Garage, Inc.' LP, a cover compilation of artists that had influenced the masters of metal. It has also been done by Irish gentlemen like The Pogues and U2, as well as Scots such as Belle & Sebastian and Simple Minds.

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or re-listen, all of the episodes are archived right here.


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